Importer App: Getting Started

Teena Blaydes -

What is the Importer App? 

The Importer App is used both internally and externally to analyze and import data, via the API, into Handshake.

How does it work?

Think of the importer as a translator. It translates a CSV into JSON that's fed into our API and into Handshake.


For information on using the Handshake Importer, formatting CSV's, troubleshooting items, and other data-related issues, please see the following sections:


Types of Files for Importing:

  • Students
  • Contacts
    • All contacts that have an invalid email and/or email domain will be pushed back to your team. Feel free to update the contacts' information and send us a new file.

    • How to format and upload contacts
    • Contacts are generally employer or alumni contacts, pulled from your previous system.
    • Prior to the employer launch, you'll want to upload a list of employer contacts into Handshake - This will allow you to mass email, inviting them to join the Handshake platform. 
    • Contacts are verified prior to import.
  • Appointments
  • Notes
    • How to format and upload Notes
    • Note imports often take place when a school is going through implementation, to pull over historical information. Other times, a staff member may be tracking their notes by some external source and need a way to mass upload those into the system.
    • Notes can be applied to Users (students, mentors, career services), Appointments, Events, or Career Fairs.


  • Labels (normal)
    • Can be used for indicating extracurricular activities, granting permissions, tracking attributes for reporting, concentrations, and many other groups of users



  • FDS - Coming Soon


There are two methods for uploading data to Handshake

  1. Using the online Handshake "Importer" tool
  2. Using an AWS S3 bucket that Handshake gives you access to for uploads


Handshake Importer

We typically recommend using the importer for all but regular scheduled updates to your student information.  See more information here on how to use.  If you dont have access, please ask your account manager.  



Data Transfer w/s3

There are many ways of interacting with s3 to upload data on a regular basis, AWS s3 is very flexible and there are many clients, tools, and services written to interact with it's many features.  


In order of popularity, here are the methods we see for uploading data to AWS S3:

  1. AWS Cli - A simple python based client for uploading data (easiest to use)
  2. S3 Bash - A simple upload cli based using only local unix tools such as curl / openssl for upload (easiest to install)
  3. REST API - The underlying API for AWS S3 (most flexible)


Some AWS gotchas

  • If your file looks like it's uploading to AWS but NOT to the importer, then check what chars you are using
    • The following character sets are generally safe for use in key names: Alphanumeric characters: 0-9 a-z A-Z Special characters: ! - _ . * ' ( )
    • See here for more information




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